The Great Pyrenees

The Pyrenean Mountain Dog, known as the Great Pyrenees in the United States, is a large breed of dog, used as a livestock guardian dog.

The Great Pyrenees is a very old breed, and has been used for millennia by the shepherds which includes Basque people, who inhabit parts of the region in and around the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France and northern Spain. More recently, the breed served as the official dog of the royal French court (whose prominence began circa the Middle Ages, and lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century). During World War II the dogs were used to haul artillery over the Pyrenean Mountain range to and from Spain and France. They are related to several other large white European livestock guardian dogs (LGD), including the Italian Maremma Sheepdog, Kuvasz (Hungary), Akbash Dog (Turkey) and Polish Tatra or Polski Owczarek Podhalaski.

--From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What is a Livestock Guardian Dog?

Livestock Guardian Dogs

Livestock guardian dogs stay with the group of animals they protect as a full-time member of the flock or herd.[1] Their ability to guard their herd is mainly instinctive, as the dog is bonded to the herd from an early age.[2] Unlike the often smaller herding dogs that control the movement of the livestock, LGDs blend in with them, watching for intruders within the flock. The mere presence of a guardian dog is usually enough to ward off some predators, and LGDs will confront predators by vocal intimidation, barking, and displaying very aggressive behavior. The dog may attack or fight with a predator to protect the flock, if they are not able to drive predators off otherwise.[3] Livestock guardians may actively look for predators within protected territory to catch and destroy them, and there are known cases of dogs luring coyotes to the source of food to hunt them.

--From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Do Great Pyrenees Make Good Family Dogs?

Certainly no other breed is more ideally suited for the role of child's companion and protector than is the Great Pyrenees. They regard their family's children as their own (or their "flock") and exhibit a truly built-in sense of responsibility in watching over them. Although Great Pyrenees are protective of their families, the breed does not recognize children as their "masters." In the company of well-behaved children, the Pyrenees seems sublimely happy, whether enjoying a romp, a tussle, a game of tag, pulling some kind of conveyance, or merely doing nothing but listening to their chatter. A loving home, especially one with small children, is "Pyrenees heaven!" As always, the relationship between children and dogs must be carefully supervised and monitored by adults.

Description

Males grow to between 110-120 pounds (50-55kg) and 27-32 inches (69-81cm), while females reach between 80-90 pounds (35-40kg) and 25-29 inches (64-74cm). They will live to between 10-12 years of age. Their coats are white and can have varying shades of gray, Red (rust) or tan around the face (including a full face mask), ears and sometimes on the body and tail; as a Great Pyrenees matures, their coats grow thicker and the longer colored hair of the coat often fades on those dogs that were not born completely white. Sometimes a little light tan or lemon will appear later in life around the ears and face. Being a double coated breed, the undercoat can also have color and the skin as well. The color of the nose and on the eye rims should be jet black. Grey or tan markings that remain lend the French name, "blaireau", (badger) which is a similar grizzled mixture color seen in the European Badger. More recently any color is correctly termed "Badger" or "Blaireau". All white dogs are not preferred by top breeders for many reasons. Therefore, these all white dogs in most breedings are less frequent. It's not unusual that breedings that result in a high incidence of all white puppies do not have the required jet black pigment on the nose and eye rims. These breeding lines are therefore not, as a rule, desirable in well bred stock. There are generally all white puppies in most litters. This is normal and these all white puppies can be bred successfully in the hands of a competent breeder. The rear leg bilateral double dewclaws are required.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
--Roger Caras